In what is still a male-dominated profession, these are the women shaking up London's food scene

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Image: Female foodies

Photo: Tara Fisher

Thomasina 'Tommi' Miers, former MasterChef winner, author and restaurant co-founder

As former MasterChef semi-finalist Kim Woodward becomes the first woman to run the Savoy Grill kitchen in its 126-year history, we take a culinary tour of the other female chefs and cooks who are shaping our food scene. 


Skye Gyngell

Who: Australian chef who was awarded a Michelin star for her work at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, London and acclaimed cookbook writer
Where: Spring Restaurant, Somerset House, London. You no longer have to trek out to zone 5 to eat her food
Why: this is a lady who knows what goes with what to create seasonal, fresh and elegant food. She finds the best ingredients and then somehow makes them taste even better

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Skye Gyngell

Photo: Amber Rowlands


Claire Ptak

Who: food writer, stylist and bakery owner
Where: Violet Cakes, London
Why: the Californian cake queen and owner of the Hackney bakery and stall at Broadway Market has transformed the east London baking scene with her freewheeling bakes. The queues for her ginger molasses cake, buttermilk banana bread and cinnamon buns are legendary and justified

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Claire Ptak

Photo: Kristin Perers


Angela Hartnett

Who: Michelin-starred chef with an MBE to boot
Where: Italian restaurant Murano, London, and owner of a mini empire (The Merchants TavernHartnett Holder & Co, Cafe Murano)
Why: she’s the master of seasonal ingredients done simply but very, very well

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Angela Hartnett

Photo: PR


Florence Knight

Who: head chef (by the age of 26), cookbook author and writer
Where: the Venetian-style bacaro, Polpetto
Why: Knight is a genius at paring ingredients right back and serving them to their best advantage. This has made Polpetto a real institution

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Florence Knight

Photo: PR


Nicole Pisani

Who: Soho restaurant Yotam Ottolenghi’s former head chef who now serves up lunch for 500 students on a budget of 92p per child
Where: Gayhurst community school, Hackney, London
Why: she’s shaking up the way we view school dinners by swapping those chips-with-everything lunches for fresh salmon goujons, cheese and butternut squash quiches with pea shoots, soured cream and corn salsa, clams and even kombu seaweed

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Nicole Pisani

Photo: PR


Thomasina ‘Tommi' Miers

Who: former MasterChef winner, cookbook writer, chef restaurant co-founder
Where: Wahaca (16 branches and counting)
Why: since winning MasterChef in 2005, Miers has accomplished a lot. The Mexican street-food queen champions free-range meat, sustainable fish and recycles everything down to the food waste. She is a master with a chilli, too; you need to read her book, Chilli Notes (hardcover, RRP £25, Hodder & Stoughton)

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Thomasina Miers

Photo: Tara Fisher


Anna Hansen

Who: Canada-born, New Zealand-raised chef and MBE. Trained under Fergus Henderson and worked alongside Peter Gordon at The Providores
Where: The Modern Pantry
Why: she can meld together ingredients from all over the world – we’re talking Welsh lamb rump with swede and ginger gratin, clementine, yuzu and caramelised red onion salsa, and tonka bean panna cotta with poached cranberries and gingerbread crumb​

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Anna Hansen

Photo: PR


Sabrina Ghayour

Who: the golden girl of Persian food
Where: supper clubs across London
Why: after being made redundant in 2011, around the time of Thomas Keller’s 250-a-head pop-up, she joked on Twitter that she should do ‘The French Launderette', for £2.50. She received more than 30 bookings within hours. Her supper clubs are now must-go-tos and her cookbook, Persiana, which was released in 2014, became an instant classic (hardcover, RRP £25, Octopus Publishing Group)

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Sabrina Ghayour

Photo: PR

 

Nikandre Kopcke

Who: founder of social enterprise Mazi Mas, the pop-up restaurant that employs women from migrant and refugee communities
Where: Kennington, London
Why: she supports migrant and refugee women by giving them paid employment while developing their cooking skills and bringing authentic home dishes to diners. Kopcke’s is a pop-up with a difference

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